Copenhagen Fashion Week Leading The Way To A Greener Fashion Month

In a bid to make a forcible change in the Fashion Industry, Copenhagen Fashion Week sees its sustainability guidelines put into action at their SS22 shows.

Seen as the 5th fashion capital in the world, CPHFW has become increasingly popular over recent years, not only for their legendary, effortless, cool-girl style but also for their leading ingenuity of ecological efforts, that set them apart from any other fashion week around. Known for their quality of life, it makes perfect sense that the Danish wish to uphold that quality through sustainable methods. Hence why Danish designers and Fashion Week CEOs are already implementing a change in the way that their fashion week is held.

Fashion Week is notoriously known for its damaging effects on the environment. Encouraging consumerism and creating mountains of traffic through some of the world’s busiest cities, it’s little wonder that Extinction Rebellion called for an end to the fashion frenzy in 2019. It was a dismal finish to the standard running of Fashion Week as we knew it, and perhaps a reality check to some of our fashion leaders that a change was long overdue.

Copenhagen Fashion Week

Source: Guardian

One individual already recognising these disastrous effects that Fashion Weeks were having on our planet was Cecile Thorsmark, CEO of Copenhagen Fashion Week. As part of the Global Fashion Agenda for many years, Thorsmark believed that fashion had to change at its very core to address sustainability. Unlike other organisations (not naming any names), Thorsmark was not satisfied with CPHFW greenwashing with a selection of sustainable designers. Instead, she set in place a 3-year sustainability checklist. This was to ensure that any designer part of Copenhagen Fashion Week would be making a series of structural and business changes to improve their carbon footprint.

Image of Cecile Thorsmark

Image Source: WGSN

An eco-lover at heart, Thorsmark has been pushing for better, greener decisions in fashion since 2016. Therefore, transitioning to CEO of a society that is knowingly damaging our ecosystem was not a necessarily easy move for Thorsmark. With Fashion Month emitting around 241 000 tons of CO2 each year, it is one of the largest contributing factors to the fashion industry’s substandard reputation. Without change from its very foundations, Fashion Week runs a risk of becoming outdated and extinct.

Cecile Thorsmark explains how the three-year plan hopes to resolve these problems. Established in January 2020, the Sustainability Action Plan goal is “to intensify efforts to become a more sustainable event and industry platform”, states the Copenhagen Fashion Week website. By 2022 designers must implement strategies to become zero waste for Copenhagen Fashion Week, in promises of reducing their climate impact by at least 50%.

Speaking in a recent podcast with WGSN president Carla Bruzasi, Thorsmark explains that these strategies are not to exclude or push out those who do not yet hold the same ecological values that they do but to encourage them to become part of a more conscious community.

“We’ve made our own sustainability action plan, not just as our own target but because we wanted to inspire other fashion weeks and organisations to do the same and to collaborate with us on our requirements system.” – Cecile Thorsmark in conversation with WGSN

women attending Fashion Week

Image source: Instagram

Thankfully for us all, this master plan seems to be working. Copenhagen Fashion Week has already signed its first non-Danish partners. The Norwegian Fashion Industry partnered recently, made up of the Norwegian Fashion Hub and their own Fashion Week. Gaining strength in numbers, the presidents of Copenhagen Fashion Week hope that others will also join once the ball is rolling.

So, what does a sustainable Fashion Week look like?

Well, now over halfway to their deadline, by next Copenhagen Fashion Week the guidelines set in place by the Sustainability Action Plan will have to be enforced by all designers showcasing their work. With designers already putting some of these aims into action, it meant things are already looking a little greener at the SS22 shows that have just been.

Proving that fashion and sustainability do not have to be two opposing concepts, here are a few of our top picks from CPHFW SS22:

Model walking down a catwalk

Image Source: Vogue Scandinavia

With tailored silhouettes and a simplistic colour palette, Soulland presented a collection that was the Scandinavian style at its best. The unisex collection was complimented but an inclusive model casting that reflected its audience. Best of all the clothing was made entirely out of deadstock, recycled, or organic materials, and the final look was even crafted and presented digitally through their Instagram.

Model walking down a catwalk

Image Source: Vogue

Probably the most famous of Danish brands, Ganni has made quite the name for themselves over the past few years. The very definition of “it girl” style, their SS22 collection did not disappoint. Held on top of CopenHill, Copenhagen’s largest green power plant, the location gave a view to hundreds of wind turbines and green space in the background. A visual nod to the brand’s sustainability efforts over the past years, which have resulted in recycled fabric usage and low waste alternatives.

model walking down a catwalk

Image Source: Vogue Scandinavia

Finally, the sustainable fashion phenomenon (di)vision brought a little bit of grunge realness to Copenhagen Fashion Week this year. Founded in 2018 the brand ideology is “creating from what already is”. Their unisex collection is created from high-quality deadstock materials and fashioned into a DIY aesthetic, unique to their brand. A little different from the usual Copenhagen Fashion Week runways, (di)vision is a true testament to what can be done through recycling fabrics.

What these inventive designers and the Copenhagen Fashion Week CEOs have proven is that Fashion Month does not have to be the ecological burden that it is. Clothes can be beautiful and still be ethically made. Hopefully, with Copenhagen leading the way, the famous four fashion capitals will follow in the pursuit of a more sustainable Fashion Month all-round.